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Postdoctoral FAQs

Posdoc Program FAQs

No. Existing postdocs will complete their appointment as defined at the time of hire.
Yes. If you recruit a postdoc on or after the program is implemented, you will participate in the new postdoc program.
Postdocs do not have standard teaching expectations; however, if teaching aligns with a postdoc's career plans then the assignment of teaching duties could be appropriate. If teaching is assigned it should be aligned with the IDP of the postdoc. In any case, the majority of a postdoc's efforts should be towards scholarly pursuits.
No. Salary adjustments can only be made if the responsible unit identifies funding.
Yes. There are SHRA and EHRA research support positions that can be used depending on the business need of the hiring unit.
Individual Development Plans (IDP) for postdoctoral scholars and fellows provide a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives for the individual postdoc. Furthermore, IDPs serve as a communication tool between postdocs and their mentors. An IDP can be considered one component of a broader mentoring program. The IDP forms the basis for annual evaluation of the postdoc and is a living document that should be revisited annually (at a minimum). IDP templates are available from the Graduate School.
All postdoctoral appointments are subject to annual performance reviews. Annual reviews will include self-evaluation by the postdoc as well as an evaluation by the mentor which will be based on progress towards goals outlined in the Individual Development plan. Annual evaluation templates have been developed by the Graduate School. Annual evaluations of postdocs will not be administered through “Full Cycle.”
Postdocs will receive an orientation to UNCW, similar to what faculty receive, to help them transition to their new role. This includes a comprehensive virtual orientation administered through Canvas, a postdoc handbook, and in-person elements.
All postdocs are required to participate in RCR training, which will be administered by the Research Integrity Office.
UNCW establishes competitive salaries for postdocs consistent with rates published by the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award. Current rates can be found on the Graduate School website.
UNCW is currently lagging behind peer institutions in establishing competitive and uniform postdocs salaries. The NIH NRSA salaries are a national benchmark used by research universities across the nation.  Adopting these guidelines will bring UNCW in line with peer and aspirational universities and allow UNCW to be more competitive in recruiting high quality postdocs.  

For example, ECU follows the NIH NRSA guidelines.
Maybe.  A higher salary may make the proposed budget higher but will increase the likelihood of successfully hiring and retaining a postdoc.  In addition, new fringe rates for postdocs will be significantly lower with the new classification, allowing postdoc salaries to be increased with minimal impact on the total grant budget.
Yes. Again, the pay schedule will follow the NIH NRSA guidelines. This should be planned for when creating a grant proposal budget.

A postdoctoral fellow is fully or partially compensated through funding from the University, College, Department, School, or external funding agency as part of a designated fellowship program.   

A postdoctoral scholar is compensated through grants or contracts.  

The “Postdoc Medical Plan” is a postdoc specific version of the Student Blue health plan. This is the same plan used by NC State, ECU, UNC Chapel Hill, and others. Under this plan, the Abrons Student Health Center serves as the primary care for postdocs, with referrals given for specialists as necessary.
The new temporary EHRA designation for postdocs allows flexibility in hiring and streamlines the hiring proposal process. Please see the Postdoc Hiring Handbook for more information.
University policy requires that PIs on grants are permanent employees. Postdocs can serve as Co-PIs.
There is not a promotional “track” for postdocs. If a postdoc position no longer meets the business need for the position, a department can explore available SHRA and EHRA research positions.
Yes, if it is appropriate for the position and agreed upon by the mentor and postdoc.
Postdoc employee are “at will” and thus do not have specific contract terms. However, all postdocs will be hired with an anticipated duration of service to be determined at the time of recruitment and maximum possible duration of service of 5 years. In the event a postdoc takes FMLA, a case-by-case evaluation will be conducted to determine if a postdoc can remain employed for the total time of anticipated appointment.
In current practice, postdocs are not eligible to apply for university level funding opportunities such as the Cahill Award. This is an area of importance for future consideration. As with extramurally funded grants, postdocs can serve as co-PI on internal funding opportunities.  

Please Direct All Questions To

Dr. Scott Nooner- Professor, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences